An overwhelming majority of law firm leaders believe technology will have the greatest impact on law firms over the next five years but are deeply concerned that cultural changes may prove to be a barrier in keeping up with new technology, according to a new report.
The global legal industry is at a tipping point, and there is an urgent need for law firms to consider the longer term impact of technological change on their strategic and competitive market position, suggests a report by accountancy and business advisory firm BDO LLP. The report, entitled Law Firm Leaders Survey, polled the managing partners and senior partners of 50 international and United Kingdom law firms.
The disconnect between clients and large law firms is so significant and persistent that a growing number of clients are considering bringing more legal business in-house, exploring alternative legal service providers and are contemplating doing business with smaller firms that offer greater flexibility, reveals a report.
General counsel feel that large law firms make little effort to understand their business, do not appreciate the budgetary constraints they face, and receive little help when analyzing the complex portfolio of legal work given to them. Indeed, the report points out that not a single client was satisfied with what law firms provide.
Some law firms are so determined to attract new business that they will go to lengths that confound even the most seasoned legal observers.
The current legal marketplace, characterized by lethargic growth, too many lawyers and a buyer’s market, has driven some law firms to literally conduct fire sales. Offers to work for free are atypical. But seemingly more prevalent are cases where law firms aggressively chase work, offering rates so low that they almost certainly will lead to an unprofitable engagement or at best result in a write-down.
Legal consultant Bruce MacEwen morbidly but aptly describes it as “suicide pricing.”
A series of class action suits armed with significant claims has waded its way through the Ontario courts, all of whom have named major law firms as defendants.
The North American legal marketplace is in the midst of consolidating and shrinking, marked by growing competition for small and medium-sized targets.
Grondin, Poudrier, Bernier, a Quebec City law firm that honed its reputation in labour law before branching out in other practice areas, will be disbanding at year end, marking the second Quebec medium-sized law firm to take drastic measures over the past couple of weeks to come to grips with a faltering economy and saturated legal marketplace. Faced with shrinking business and a growing number of clients absconding to larger law firms, partners at Grondin, Poudrier, Bernier recently decided to cut its losses after 61 years in business, throwing up in the air the fate of more than 30 lawyers. A small group of lawyers is expected to form a new boutique law firm, specializing exclusively in labour law, said Henri Grondin, one of the firm’s partners. “Not everybody was happy but I believe we could have continued,” said Grondin. “After more than 40 years of a law firm carrying my name, I am faced with a decision that will chuck all that way, and I wasn’t even consulted,” added Grondin, who admitted he was …